Pennsylvania’s congressional districts decline

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Before the rise of the Sunbelt, Pennsylvania had 38 electoral votes from 1912 to 1928, second only to New York, and the number of electoral votes has declined steadily since then, now standing at 20. So Pennsylvania, which once had 36 congressional districts, is down to 18. Pennsylvania has lost two electoral votes in every census since 1960.


There was a long succession of Democrats representing Washington and/or Greene counties that goes back to Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the New Deal election in the depths of the Great Depression in 1932:


• 1933-1942 Charles I. Faddis of Waynesburg, who resigned his seat to serve in the U.S. Army. He raised Hereford cattle and operated oil and gas wells and coal mines. He is buried in Rosemont Cemetery, Rogersville.


• 1943-1944 Dr. (Robert) Grant Furlong of Donora, whose district first included Washington and part of Allegheny County, but not Greene; it was reapportioned to include Greene in 1944. He was elected Washington County sheriff in 1945, serving until 1961.


• 1945-1976 Dr. Thomas E. Morgan of Fredericktown. He was a member of the powerful House Committee on International Relations.


• 1977-1994 Austin J. Murphy, who was reprimanded by the House in 1987 on ethics violations including not being present to cast votes and having a “ghost employee” on his staff.


• 1995-2002 Frank Mascara, a former Washington County controller and commissioner. He died last year at age 81.


• 2003-2010 John Murtha, the first Vietnam War veteran elected to Congress, headed the powerful House appropriations defense subcommittee until his unexpected death in February 2010.


• 2010-2012 Mark Critz, Murtha’s chief of staff in Johnstown, defeated Republican Tim Burns of North Strabane Township in a special election in 2010 and in the general election. After reapportionment took both Washington and Greene counties out of the district, he lost last month to Republican Keith Rothfus.


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